Kinect SDK announced and demoed

We’re rounding off our MIX conference coverage (IE10 and Windows Phone 7) at developerFusion this week with the highlights from our other favourite piece of Microsoft technology – Kinect.

At the end of last month, a paper published by Microsoft Research outlined how Kinect’s software implemented body tracking algorithms. At MIX the Kinect team have gone one better, and announced the upcoming availability of a Kinect SDK.

The Software Development Kit will allow individuals to integrate Kinect into their apps and bring about all kinds of new interaction experiences to computers through Kinect’s unique sensing technology. The SDK will enable developers to integrate Kinect into VB, C# and C++ applications – what many hackers using the homebrew drivers are already used to.

Microsoft has been demoing some of the possibilities, and on-stage they showed integration with Microsoft Research’s Worldwide Telescope application.

The SDK is a potent proposal for developers looking to play with Kinect. Up until now, the microphone data has been unavailable to code because the open-source driver builders have been unable to work out how to decode the 4-microphone audio signals that Kinect produces. Support for this comes with the official Kinect SDK, as well as full automated skeleton tracking for one or two people.

If you’re in the US, the Netflix for Xbox 360 app has also been updated to include a Kinect interface.

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